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Do you mentally background your business’s security system?

May 19th, 2009 by Kevin Bowyer

CCTV Mental Backgrounding

Most businesses these days have some form or other of CCTV security or surveillance system on the premises. For some this offers peace of mind, for some a surveillance system operates as a clear and present deterrance and for others as a ‘fire and forget’ system which only becomes critical when it is expected to work during an alarm event.

Larger corporations and some SMEs will monitor their CCTV systems at all times and respond immediately to break-ins and violations, but most small businesses don’t have the luxury of resources and therefore rely on their security systems to work in the background, becoming ‘visible’ only when needed.

The idea that something as critical as the security of your business can essentially be forgotten about is not a concept which sits easy with most business owners, but in actual fact most will end up using it in this way, intentionally or not. Whether a security system is intentionally configured to work in this way, or whether over time businesses simply forget it’s there, there is always an element of CCTV working in the background. The real trick is to make sure any system functions correctly in the event of a security breach long before that mental backgrounding takes place.

With any IP CCTV installation large or small it pays in the longer term to test the system repeatedly and contextually. For instance, it’s no good setting up a motion detection window on a camera then simply walking past that camera to test the trigger works correctly. You need to test that trigger in a real scenario, usually at night, when a real event is most likely to occur.

Similarly, any event notifications must be stress tested on installation or businesses suffer the risk of email overload and thus even quicker mental backgrounding. The last thing any small business owner wants is to be woken at 3am by a raft of SMS messages or emails generated by false alarms from a poorly configured system.

Critically for your business, false alarms generate costs in money, time, worry and frustration.

If you have ‘backgrounded’ your CCTV system take a moment to consider how it is set up. Have you viewed the recordings lately? Has it generated any false alarms recently? Have you checked that it’s still working?

Get your CCTV system set up right and it will work to your benefit and perform its duties well, returning your investment rapidly and helping your business turn a profit. Fail to get the configuration right or skimp on testing and you risk rendering the system useless, shortening your temper and wasting your investment.

Choosing the right company to source your equipment from and to perform your installation and commissioning is therefore extremely important. A company with a deep knowledge of security, but just as importantly, of how your CCTV system relates to the needs of your business is a better company for you.

When you finally ‘mentally background’ your CCTV system be safer in the knowledge that you’ve done your prep.

Above all, sleep tight.

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